Shipyard job losses condemned

08 November 2013

PA

Vessel: HMS Victory, facing a lonely future in Portsmouth dockyard

Vessel: HMS Victory, facing a lonely future in Portsmouth dockyard

THE loss of more than 900 jobs at a shipyard in Portsmouth has been condemned by the Bishop of Portsmouth, the Rt Revd Christopher Foster, who described the decision as "shocking".

Bishop Foster said that few would understand why BAE Systems, which owns the yard, and the Ministry of Defence, had decided to end shipbuilding altogether in the city.

"The decision of BAE and the Government will not be understood by most of us," he said, "and does no justice to the commitment of this city and area to our island and naval safety for generations. This is serious and shocking news for Portsmouth and the surrounding area - most of all for those whose jobs are now directly at risk and their families, but also for the whole community and local economy."

The Government announced last month that, although repairs and maintenance would continue in Portsmouth, 940 jobs would be lost from 2014, as there would be no more vessels to build. Some 835 jobs will also be cut at BAE Systems' Govan and Scotstoun shipyards in Glasgow.

The firm said it had to make the cuts because of a significant drop in demand for shipbuilding. The Defence Secretary, Philip Hammond, told the House of Commons that the job-losses were regrettable yet inevitable, but that the Government would invest £100 million in Portsmouth to expand its naval dockyard to prepare to house new aircraft carriers later this decade.

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